Many factors go into choosing a summer camp. The best place to start is with your child. If you want your him or her to be the proverbial “happy camper,” then the selection of a camp should be a joint decision made by you and your child. Fortunately, there are many more options than in days gone by when you simply sent your child to a cluster of cabins in the woods to make leather crafts. You and your child should be able to concur on a camp because today there is most certainly a camp for almost every interest from cooking camps to creating 3-D Printing and Design camps.

Here are some questions you and your child may want to consider:

  1. What are the objectives for attending camp? To have fun? To learn something new? To further develop a skill, talent, or sport? To explore a future career?
  2. Should the camp be local or located some distance from home? If away from home, what is the ideal place? The mountains? The beach?
  3. If a local camp seems more appealing, should it be a day camp or sleepover camp? If sleepover, is your child mature enough to handle that?
  4. How long should the camp last? A week? A month? The entire summer?
  5. Does the child have any special needs or dietary restrictions?
  6. What is your budget?

Here are a few question you may want to ask the administration of any camp you are considering:

  1. Is the camp accredited?
  2. How is the staff trained?
  3. Does the camp have a safety plan?
  4. How does the camp handle medical issues?
  5. In addition to the tuition for the camp, will there be any extra expenses?
  6. What is the camper-to-counselor ratio?
  7. Are there any requirements for attending camp, such as a physical exam?
  8. What is the camp’s refund policy, should a camper withdraw early?
  9. Can the camp provide references?

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to research camps. You may want to consult with your child’s coach, teacher, or instructor to see if they can offer any recommendations. Also, friends and neighbors are a good source for information. If the camp does provide references, you may want to check them as well.

Here are some questions to address to them.

  1. Can you recommend a camp?
  2. What did you like about that camp? What didn’t you like about it?
  3. Did your child like the camp as much as you did?
  4. Would you send your child to the camp again?
  5. Did you think the camp was overpriced or did it provide a lot for your money?

View our Guide to Area Summer Camps in Pittsburgh Directory list.